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Smoothie at the Movies: 'Yes, Virginia, there are new movies to see!'

It's the inaugural Smoothie Christmas Special: With the Christmas weekend fast approaching, there's a slew of new films coming out that are perfect for treating yo'self while waiting for the big man to climb down your chimney. So, put out the milk and cookies on the mantel piece, and head out to the movies.

The Grand Esplanade (A brand new theater!):

A brand new multiplex is just what I was going to ask for for Christmas, and look what showed up just in time. The Grand Esplanade 14 opened its Kenner doors right next to the Esplanade Mall. It boasts state-of-the-art screens, including the end-all GPX Screen. The GPX includes a three-story screen with Dolby Atmos sound and RealD 3D capabilities. It all seems very exciting (I’ll be putting up a review once I get to have my mind blown by the experience). With all that The Grand is putting forward, I can only imagine one movie that I’d want to see there: Keanu Reeves’ 47 Ronin.

Once abandoned by his samurai brethren for being a half breed, Kai (the most Keanu has been Keanu since The Matrix) was enslaved and left to fend for himself. Now that the samurais have lost their master, making them roaming warriors (or Ronin), the samurai clan finds Kai to enlist his help in seeking revenge for their master’s death and to bring honor back to their people. The journey takes them into battle against all sorts of mythical creatures and magic-possessing villains. With the film's mesmerizing colors and cinematography, why not head to the newest theater with the biggest, brightest screens to watch it on?

Prytania:

For the purists among us, there can be no wrong answer with the Prytania. Especially when they're playing It’s A Wonderful Life at 10 a.m. on Sunday morning. Start your holiday adventure off right.

We all know the story: George Bailey (the always great James Stewart) has reached the end of his rope. Considering his life to be one failure after another, the last of which seemingly insurmountable, Bailey heads to the bridge at the end of his small town and contemplates suicide. It’s up to his guardian angel to show him his life as a whole and witness how his absence would have changed the lives of his loved ones. A great way to start the Christmas week and keep you remembering the true meaning of the season, while cruising around (without road rage) looking for parking spots.

Canal Place:

There is nothing in New Orleans quite like walking down Canal Street during the holiday season. The palm trees are lit up from the river to the lake, and all of the stores have tinseled-out window displays. To wrap up your gift-buying-in-the-Quarter adventure, you should wander in to The Theaters at Canal and check out the new Tom Hanks movie, Saving Mr. Banks.

The pairings are so obvious it almost hurts: Tom Hanks, America’s most likable, modern day father paradigm as Walt Disney, America’s most timeless  father figure; and Emma Thompson, who’s played a nanny in Nanny McPhee and author in Stranger than Fiction, as P.L. Travers, the author of the original novel Mary Poppins.

You may know Mary Poppins through a fictional account, but do you know the real story? Disney made a promise to his own daughters to make a movie about their favorite nanny -- Mary Poppins. What Disney did not realize, however, is how obstinate P.L. Travers would be about letting Hollywood take hold of her most cherished character. Only through the magic of Disney (Walt and otherwise) does the ensemble discover what Mary Poppins really means. Not just as a person, but as a story that changed lives for generations.

AMC Elmwood:

So you’ve finished up your shopping needs in the city, and now there’s just that one last thing that you need to get in Harahan (Seriously though, did you do any planning at all? It’s okay if you didn’t; I won’t be mad, just tell me.). While you're there, you might as well check out Martin Scorsese’ insanity trip The Wolf of Wall Street.

Scorsese brings back his go-to actor of the modern era, Leonardo DiCaprio, to play an aspiring (overambitious, we might say) New York stock broker (Jordan Belfort) in the 1980s. The three-hour movie gets crazier and crazier, verging on pure cinematic madness as Belfort himself gets bigger and crazier with his company and money. It all comes crashing down on him in the end.

Chalmette:

One of my favorite holiday traditions is on Christmas day, some time after the group lunch but before dinner. All of the aunts chatter among themselves, and all of the uncles begin falling asleep on comfortable furniture around the fireplace. Then, all the cousins band together and head to the movies. It's the one time of the day when we can get out of the house and unwind alone. And, really, what better throwback combination than Anchorman 2 at the Cahlmette?

The long-awaited sequel to the surprise hit, Anchorman 2 brings back the entire newscast team with their beautifully coifed messiah, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell), taking the team to New York to join the first ever 24-hour news channel. After seeing Ron Burgundy nearly everywhere in the past six months (he and his dog, Baxter, even appear on the front of Dog Fancy magazine), it’ll be exciting to see what the movie has in store. I’m not sure the sequel will have the same punch and surprise as its predecessor, but you’re gonna be guaranteed at least a handful of loud laughs. Plus, when you head back to the relatives for Christmas dinner, you and your cousins will have nothing but inside jokes that will keep all the old folks at the table totally confused.

Your Favorite Misfit Toy,

Smoothie

Matt ‘Smoothie’ Sargeant is a nolavie film writer. Contact him at mjsargeant83@gmail.com.